Old English Origin Surnames

This is a list of surnames in which the origin is Old English. Old English was the West Germanic language spoken by the Anglo-Saxons who inhabited ancient England.
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ACKER German, English
Denoted a person who lived near a field, derived from Middle English aker or Middle High German acker meaning "field".
ACKERMAN English
Means "ploughman", derived from Middle English aker "field" and man.
ADAIR English
Derived from the given name EDGAR.
AINSLEY Scots
From a place name: either Annesley in Nottinghamshire or Ansley in Warwickshire. The place names themselves derive from Old English anne "alone, solitary" or ansetl "hermitage" and leah "woodland, clearing".
AIRALDI Italian
Means "son of AROLDO".
AIRÒ Italian
From the given name AROLDO.
AKERS English
Variant of ACKER.
ALDEN English
Derived from the Old English given name EALDWINE.
ALFREDSON English
Means "son of ALFRED".
ALFREDSSON Swedish
Means "son of ALFRED".
ALGER English
From the given name ALGAR.
ALLARD French, English
Derived from the given name ADALHARD (or the Old English cognate ÆÐELRÆD).
ALVEY English
Derived from the given name ÆLFWIG.
ALVIN English
Variant of ELWYN.
APPLEBY English
From the name of various English towns, derived from Old English æppel "apple" and Old Norse býr "farm, settlement".
APPLETON English
From the name of several English towns, meaning "orchard" in Old English (a compound of æppel "apple" and tun "enclosure, yard").
ARKWRIGHT English
Occupational name for a chest maker, from Middle English arc meaning "chest, coffer" and wyrhta meaning "maker, craftsman".
ASH English
From Old English æsc meaning "ash tree", indicating a person who lived near ash trees.
ASHLEY English
Denoted a person hailing from one of the many places in England that bear this name. The place name itself is derived from Old English æsc "ash tree" and leah "woodland, clearing".
ASHWORTH English
From an English place name meaning "ash enclosure" in Old English.
ASTON (1) English
From a place name meaning "east town" in Old English.
ASTON (2) English
From the Old English given name ÆÐELSTAN.
ATTEBERRY English
Means "dweller at the fortified town" from Middle English at and burh "fortified place".
ATWATER English
From Middle English meaning "dweller at the water".
ATWOOD English
From Middle English meaning "dweller at the wood".
AUDLEY English
From a place name meaning "EALDGYÐ's clearing" in Old English.
AVERILL English
Derived from the feminine given name EOFORHILD.
AVERY English
Derived from a Norman French form of the given names ALBERICH or ALFRED.
AYERS (2) English
Derived from the given name EALHHERE.
AYLMER English
Derived from the Old English name ÆÐELMÆR.
AYTON English
From the name of towns in Berwickshire and North Yorkshire. They are derived from Old English ea "river" or eg "island" combined with tun "enclosure, yard, town".
BADCOCK English
From a diminutive of the medieval given name BADA.
BAGLEY English
From various English place names, all derived from Old English bagga "bag, badger" combined with leah "woodland, clearing".
BAINES (2) English
From a nickname derived from Old English ban "bones", probably for a thin person.
BAKER English
Occupational name meaning "baker", derived from Middle English bakere.
BARDSLEY English
From the name a village near Manchester, from the Old English given name BEORNRÆD and leah "woodland, clearing".
BARNETT English
Derived from Old English bærnet meaning "a place cleared by burning".
BARTON English
From a place name meaning "barley town" in Old English.
BAXTER English
Variant (in origin a feminine form) of BAKER.
BEAN English
English cognate of BOHN.
BEASLEY English
From the name of a place in Lancashire, from Old English beos "bent grass" and leah "woodland, clearing".
BENTLEY English
From a place name derived from Old English beonet "bent grass" and leah "woodland, clearing". Various towns in England bear this name.
BENTON English
Denoted someone who came from Benton, England, which is derived from Old English beonet "bent grass" and tun "enclosure".
BERRY English
Derived from a place name, which was derived from Old English burh "fortification".
BEVERLY English
Derived from the name of an English city, meaning "beaver stream" in Old English.
BIRD English
Occupational name for a person who raised or hunted birds.
BLACK English
Means either "black" (from Old English blæc) or "pale" (from Old English blac). It could refer to a person with a pale or a dark complexion, or a person who worked with black dye.
BLACKBURN English
From the name of a city in Lancashire, meaning "black stream" in Old English.
BLACKMAN English
From a nickname, a variant of BLACK.
BLACKWOOD English, Scottish
From an English place name meaning "black wood".
BLAKE English
Variant of BLACK. A famous bearer was the poet and artist William Blake (1757-1827).
BLAKELEY English
From name of various English places, derived from Old English blæc "black" and leah "woodland, clearing".
BLAKESLEY English
From the name of a town in Northamptonshire, itself meaning "Blæcwulf's meadow" in Old English. Blæcwulf is a byname meaning "black wolf".
BLOODWORTH English
Originally indicated someone from the town of Blidworth in Nottinghamshire, which was derived from the Old English byname Blīþa (meaning "happy, blithe") combined with worð "enclosure".
BLUE English
From a nickname for a person with blue eyes or blue clothing.
BLYTHE English
From Old English meaning "happy, joyous, blithe".
BOATWRIGHT English
Occupational name meaning "maker of boats".
BOLTON English
From any of the many places in England called Bolton, derived from Old English bold "house" and tun "enclosure".
BOURKE English
Variant of BURKE.
BOURNE English
Derived from Old English burna "stream, spring".
BRADDOCK English
From various locations derived from Old English meaning "broad oak".
BRADFORD English
Derived from the name of the city of Bradford in West Yorkshire, which meant "broad ford" in Old English. This is also the name of other smaller towns in England.
BRADLEY English
From a common English place name, derived from brad "broad" and leah "woodland, clearing".
BREWER English
Occupational name for a maker of ale or beer.
BREWSTER English
Variant of BREWER, originally a feminine form of the occupational term.
BRINLEY English
Possibly from English places named Brindley, derived from Old English berned "burned" and leah "woodland, clearing".
BROADBENT English
From a place name derived from Old English brad "broad" and beonet "bent grass".
BRONSON English
Patronymic form of BROWN.
BROOK English
Denoted a person who lived near a brook, a word derived from Old English broc.
BROOKE English
Variant of BROOK.
BROOKS English
Variant of BROOK.
BROWN English
Originally a nickname for a person who had brown hair or skin. A notable bearer is Charlie Brown from the 'Peanuts' comic strip by Charles Schulz.
BROWNE English
Variant of BROWN.
BROWNLOW English
From Old English brun meaning "brown" and hlaw meaning "mound, small hill". The name was probably given to a family living on a small hill covered with bracken.
BUCKLEY (1) English
From an English place name derived from bucc "buck, male deer" and leah "woodland, clearing".
BURKE English, Irish
Derived from Middle English burgh meaning "fortress, fortification, castle". It was brought to Ireland in the 12th century by the Norman invader William FitzAdelm de Burgo.
BURNHAM English
From the name of various towns in England, typically derived from Old English burna "stream, spring" and ham "home, settlement".
BURNS (1) English, Scottish
Derived from Old English burna "stream, spring". A famous bearer was the Scottish poet Robert Burns (1759-1796).
BURTON English
From a common English place name, derived from Old English meaning "fortified town".
BUSH English
Originally a name for a person who lived near a prominent bush or thicket.
BYRD English
Variant of BIRD.
CALDWELL English
From various English place names derived from Old English ceald "cold" and well "spring, stream, well".
CARMAN (1) English
Occupational name for a carter, from Middle English carre "cart" (of Latin origin) and man "man".
CARTWRIGHT English
Occupational name indicating one who made carts.
CASON English
From the English place name Cawston, derived from the Old Norse given name KÁLFR combined with Old English tun meaning "enclosure, yard, town".
CAULFIELD English
From a place name meaning "cold field", from Old English ceald "cold" and feld "pasture, field".
CHADWICK English
From the name of English towns meaning "settlement belonging to CHAD" in Old English.
CHAPMAN English
Occupational name derived from Old English ceapmann meaning "merchant, trader".
CHESHIRE English
Originally indicated a person from the county of Cheshire in England. Cheshire is named for its city CHESTER.
CHESTER English
From the name of a city in England, derived from Latin castrum "camp, fortress".
CHURCH English
From the English word, derived from Old English cirice, ultimately from Greek κυριακον (kyriakon) meaning "(house) of the lord". It probably referred to a person who lived close to a church.
CLAY English
Means simply "clay", originally referring to a person who lived near or worked with of clay.
CLAYTON English
From the name of various places meaning "clay settlement" in Old English.
CLIFFORD English
Derived from various place names that meant "ford by a cliff" in Old English.
CLIFTON English
Derived from various place names meaning "settlement by a cliff" in Old English.
CLINTON English
Derived from the place name Glympton meaning "settlement on the River Glyme" in Old English.
COCK English
Derived from the medieval nickname cok meaning "rooster, cock". The nickname was commonly added to given names to create diminutives such as Hancock or Alcock.
COCKBURN Scottish, English
Originally indicated someone who came from Cockburn, a place in Berwickshire. The place name is derived from Old English cocc "rooster" and burna "stream".
COCKS English
Patronymic form of COCK.
COKE English
Variant of COOK.
COKES English
Variant of COOK.
COLE English
From the Old English byname COLA.
COLT English
Occupational name for a keeper of horses, derived from Middle English colt.
COLTON English
From a place name meaning "COLA's town".
COMBS English
Variant of COOMBS.
COOK English
Derived from Old English coc meaning "cook", ultimately from Latin coquus. It was an occupational name for a cook, a man who sold cooked meats, or a keeper of an eating house.
COOKE English
Variant of COOK.
COOKSON English
Patronymic form of COOK.
COOMBS English
From Old English cumb meaning "valley", the name of several places in England.
COX English
Patronymic form of COCK.
CRAWFORD English
From a place name derived from Old English crawa "crow" and ford "river crossing".
DALE English
From Old English dæl meaning "valley", originally indicating a person who lived there.
DALTON English
Derived from a place name meaning "valley town" in Old English. A notable bearer of the surname was the English chemist and physicist John Dalton (1766-1844).
DARWIN English
From the given name DEORWINE.
DEBENHAM English
Originally denoted a person from the town of Debenham in Suffolk, derived from the name of the River Deben (meaning "deep" in Old English) combined with ham meaning "home, settlement".
DENMAN English
From Middle English dene "valley" combined with man.
DEXTER English
Occupational name meaning "dyer" in Old English (originally this was a feminine word, but it was later applied to men as well).
DICKMAN English
From Old English dic "ditch" combined with man "man". It was originally a name for a ditch digger or someone who lived near a ditch.
DUARTE Portuguese, Spanish
From the given name DUARTE.
DUDLEY English
From a place name meaning "DUDDA's clearing" in Old English. The surname was borne by a British noble family.
DUNN English, Scottish, Irish
Derived from Old English dunn "dark" or Gaelic donn "brown", referring to hair colour or complexion.
DWERRYHOUSE English
Indicated a person who worked or lived at a dye-house, which is a place where dyeing was done.
DYER English
Occupational name for a cloth dyer, from Old English deah "dye".
EADS English
Means "son of EDA (2)" or "son of ADAM".
EARL English
From the aristocratic title, which derives from Old English eorl meaning "nobleman, warrior". It was either a nickname for one who acted like an earl, or an occupational name for a person employed by an earl.
EARLS English
Patronymic form of EARL.
EASOM English
Variant of EADS.
EASON English
Variant of EADS.
EASTON English
From the name of various places meaning "east town" in Old English.
EATON English
From any of the various English towns with this name, derived from Old English ea "river" and tun "enclosure, yard, town".
ECCLESTON English
Denoted a person from any of the various places named Eccleston in England, derived from Latin ecclesia "church" (via Briton) and Old English tun "enclosure, yard, town".
EDGAR English
Derived from the given name EDGAR.
EDISON English
Means "son of EDA (2)" or "son of ADAM". The surname was borne by American inventor Thomas Alva Edison (1847-1931).
EDWARDS English
Means "son of EDWARD".
EDWARDSON English
Means "son of EDWARD".
ELDRED English
From the given name EALDRÆD.
ELMER English
Derived from the Old English name ÆÐELMÆR.
ELWIN English
Variant of ELWYN.
ELWYN English
Derived from the given names ÆLFWINE, ÆÐELWINE or EALDWINE.
ENGLISH English
Denoted a person who was of English heritage. It was used to distinguish people who lived in border areas (for example, near Wales or Scotland). It was also used to distinguish an Anglo-Saxon from a Norman.
EVERILL English
Derived from the feminine given name EOFORHILD.
EVERLY English
From place names meaning derived from Old English eofor "boar" and leah "woodland, clearing"..
EWART (1) English
From a Norman form of EDWARD.
EWART (2) English
From the name of an English town, derived from Old English ea "river" and worþ "enclosure".
FAIRBAIRN Scottish, English
Means "beautiful child" in Middle English and Scots.
FAIRBURN English
From a place name meaning "fern stream", from Old English fearn "fern" and burna "stream".
FAIRCHILD English
Means "beautiful child" in Middle English.
FAIRCLOUGH English
From a place name meaning "fair ravine, fair cliff" in Old English.
FARNHAM English
Indicated a person from any of the various towns named Farnham in England, notably in Surrey. Their names are from Old English fearn "fern" and ham "home, settlement" or ham "water meadow, enclosure".
FENN English
From a name for someone who dwelt near a marsh, from Old English fenn meaning "fen, swamp, bog".
FIELDS English
Name for a person who lived on or near a field or pasture, from Old English feld.
FISHMAN English
Occupational name for a fisherman.
FORD English
Name given to someone who lived by a ford, possibly the official who maintained it. A famous bearer was the American industrialist Henry Ford (1863-1947).
FOX English
From the name of the animal. It was originally a nickname for a person with red hair or a crafty person.
FREEMAN English
Referred to a person who was born free, or in other words was not a serf.
FROST English, German
From Old English and Old High German meaning "frost", a nickname for a person who had a cold personality or a white beard.
FRY English
From Old English frig (a variant of freo) meaning "free".
FRYE English
Variant of FRY.
FULTON English
From the name of the English town of Foulden, Norfolk, meaning "bird hill" in Old English.
GLADWIN English
Derived from the Old English given name GLÆDWINE.
GLASS English, German
From Old English glæs or Old High German glas meaning "glass". This was an occupational name for a glass blower or glazier.
GLAZIER English
Means "glass worker, glazier", from Old English glæs meaning "glass".
GOOD English
From a nickname meaning "good", referring to a kindly person.
GOODE English
Variant of GOOD.
GOODMAN English
Variant of GOOD.
GOODWIN English
Derived from the given name GODWINE.
GRAHAM Scottish
Derived from the English place name Grantham, which probably meant "gravelly homestead" in Old English. The surname was first taken to Scotland in the 12th century by William de Graham.
GRAY English
From a nickname for a person who had grey hair or grey clothes.
GREEN English
Descriptive name for someone who often wore the colour green or someone who lived near the village green.
GREENE English
Variant of GREEN.
GREY English
Variant of GRAY.
GROVES English
From Old English graf meaning "grove". This originally indicated a person who lived near a grove (a group of trees).
HADEN English
From a place name derived from Old English hæþ "heath" and dun "hill".
HAIG English, Scottish
From Old English haga or Old Norse hagi meaning "enclosure, pasture".
HAILEY English
Variant of HALEY.
HALE English
Derived from Old English halh meaning "nook, recess, hollow".
HALEY English
From the name of an English town meaning "hay clearing", from Old English heg "hay" and leah "clearing".
HAMBLETON English
From various English place names, derived from Old English hamel "crooked, mutilated" and tun "enclosure, yard, town".
HAMILTON English, Scottish
From an English place name, derived from Old English hamel "crooked, mutilated" and dun "hill". This was the name of a town in Leicestershire, England (which no longer exists).
HAMM English
Means "river meadow" in Old English.
HAMPTON English
From the name of multiple towns in England, derived from Old English ham "home" or ham "water meadow, enclosure" and tun "enclosure, yard, town".
HANLEY English
From various English place names meaning "high meadow" in Old English.
HARDEN English
From a place name meaning "hare valley" in Old English.
HARDING English
Derived from the given name HEARD. A famous bearer was American president Warren G. Harding (1865-1923).
HARDWICK English
From Old English heord "herd" and wíc "village, town".
HARFORD English
Habitational name from places called Harford in Gloucestershire and Devon, meaning "hart ford" or "army ford".
HARGRAVE English
Derived from Old English har meaning "grey" and graf "grove".
HARLAND English
From various place names meaning "hare land" in Old English.
HARLEY English
Derived from a place name meaning "hare clearing", from Old English hara "hare" and leah "woodland, clearing".
HARLOW English
Habitational name derived from a number of locations named Harlow, from Old English hær "rock, heap of stones" or here "army", combined with hlaw "hill".
HARRELL English
From the given name HAROLD.
HARRELSON English
Means "son of HAROLD". A famous bearer of this surname is the American actor Woody Harrelson (1961-).
HARRIS English
Means "son of HARRY".
HARRISON English
Means "son of HARRY".
HART English
Means "male deer". It was originally acquired by a person who lived in a place frequented by harts, or bore some resemblance to a hart.
HARTELL English
From various place names derived from Old English heort "hart, male deer" and hyll "hill".
HATHAWAY English
Habitational name for someone who lived near a path across a heath, from Old English hæþ "heath" and weg "way".
HAWK English
Originally a nickname for a person who had a hawk-like appearance or who acted in a fierce manner, derived from Old English heafoc "hawk".
HAWKING English
From a diminutive of HAWK. A famous bearer was the British physicist Stephen Hawking (1942-2018).
HAWKINS English
From a diminutive of HAWK.
HAYDEN (1) English
From place names meaning either "hay valley" or "hay hill", derived from Old English heg "hay" and denu "valley" or dun "hill".
HAYES (1) English
From various English place names that were derived from Old English hæg meaning "enclosure, fence". A famous bearer was American President Rutherford B. Hayes (1822-1893).
HAYLEY English
Variant of HALEY.
HAYTER English
Name for a person who lived on a hill, from Middle English heyt meaning "height".
HAYWARD English
Occupational name for a person who protected an enclosed forest, from Old English hæg "enclosure, fence" and weard "guard".
HAYWOOD English
From various place names meaning "fenced wood" in Old English.
HEAD English
From Middle English hed meaning "head", from Old English heafod. It may have referred to a person who had a peculiar head, who lived near the head of a river or valley, or who served as the village headman.
HEADLEY English
From place names meaning "heather clearing" in Old English.
HEATH English
Originally belonged to a person who was a dweller on the heath or open land.
HEPBURN English, Scottish
From northern English place names meaning "high burial mound" in Old English. It was borne by Mary Queen of Scot's infamous third husband, James Hepburn, Earl of Bothwall. Other famous bearers include the actresses Katharine Hepburn (1907-2003) and Audrey Hepburn (1929-1993).
HIGHTOWER English
Possibly a variant of HAYTER.
HILL English
Originally given to a person who lived on or near a hill, derived from Old English hyll.
HILLAM English
From English places by this name, derived from Old English hyll meaning "hill".
HILTON English
From various English place names derived from Old English hyll "hill" and tun "enclosure, town". Famous bearers of this name include the Hilton family of hotel heirs.
HOGGARD English
Occupational name meaning "pig herder", from Old English hogg "hog" and hierde "herdsman, guardian".
HOLLAND (1) English
From various English places of this name, derived from Old English hoh "point of land, heel" and land "land".
HOLLINS English
Referred to someone living by a group of holly trees, from Old English holegn.
HOLME English, Scottish
Referred either to someone living by a small island (northern Middle English holm, from Old Norse holmr) or near a holly tree (Middle English holm, from Old English holegn).
HOLMES English, Scottish
Variant of HOLME. A famous fictional bearer was Sherlock Holmes, a detective in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's mystery stories beginning in 1887.
HOLT English, Dutch, Danish, Norwegian
From Old English, Old Dutch and Old Norse holt meaning "forest".
HOMEWOOD English
From various place names derived from Old English ham meaning "home" and wudu meaning "wood".
HOOKER English
Originally applied to one who lived near a river bend or corner of some natural feature, from Old English hoc "angle, hook".
HORN English, German, Norwegian, Danish
From the Germanic word horn meaning "horn". This was an occupational name for one who carved objects out of horn or who played a horn, or a person who lived near a horn-shaped geographical feature, such as a mountain or a bend in a river.
HORNE English
Variant of HORN.
HORTON English
From the names of various places in England, which are derived from Old English horh "dirt, mud" and tun "enclosure, yard, town".
HOUSE English
Referred to a person who lived or worked in a house, as opposed to a smaller hut.
HOUSTON Scottish
Means "HUGH's town". The original Houston is in Scotland near Glasgow.
HOWARD (2) English
Occupational name meaning "ewe herder", from Old English eowu "ewe" and hierde "herdsman, guardian".
HUFF English
Means "spur of a hill", from Old English hoh.
HULL English
Variant of HILL.
HUME Scottish, English
Variant of HOLME. A famous bearer was the philosopher David Hume (1711-1776).
HUNT English
Variant of HUNTER.
HUNTER English, Scottish
Occupational name that referred to someone who hunted for a living, from Old English hunta.
HURST English
Originally a name for a person who lived near a thicket of trees, from Old English hyrst "thicket".
HUXLEY English
From the name of a town in Cheshire. The final element is Old English leah "woodland, clearing", while the first element might be hux "insult, scorn". A famous bearer was the British author Aldous Huxley (1894-1963).
HYLAND (1) English
Topographic name meaning "high land", from Old English heah and land.
IRVIN English
Variant of IRVING or IRWIN.
IRWIN English
Derived from the Old English given name EOFORWINE.
JACKMAN English
Means "servant of JACK".
JAKEMAN English
Means "servant of JACK".
JOHNSTON Scottish
From the name of a Scottish town, which meant "JOHN's town".
KEMP English
Derived from Middle English kempe meaning "champion, warrior".
KENDALL English
Derived from the town of Kendal in England, so-called from the river KENT, on which it is situated, and Old English dæl meaning "valley, dale".
KENDRICK (1) English
From the Old English given names CYNERIC or CENRIC.
KENNARD English
Derived from the given names CYNEWEARD or CYNEHEARD.
KERSEY English
From an English place name meaning derived from Old English cærse "watercress" and eg "island".
KIMBALL English
Derived from the Welsh given name CYNBEL or the Old English given name CYNEBALD.
KIMBERLEY English
From various English places called Kimberley. They mean either "CYNEBURGA's field", "CYNEBALD's field" or "CYNEMÆR's field".
KING English
From Old English cyning "king", originally a nickname for someone who either acted in a kingly manner or who worked for or was otherwise associated with a king.
KINSLEY English
Derived from the given name CYNESIGE.
KNIGHT English
From Old English cniht meaning "knight", a tenant serving as a mounted soldier.
KYNASTON English
Originally derived from a place name meaning "CYNEFRITH's town" in Old English.
LANGDON English
Derived from various places names, of Old English origin meaning "long hill" (effectively "ridge").
LANGLEY (1) English
From any of the various places with this name, all derived from Old English lang "long" and leah "woodland, clearing".
LAW English
Derived from Old English hlaw "hill".
LAYTON English
Derived from the name of English towns, meaning "town with a leek garden" in Old English.
LEE (1) English
Originally given to a person who lived on or near a leah, Old English meaning "woodland, clearing".
LEIGH English
Variant of LEE (1).
LEWIN English
Derived from the given name LEOFWINE.
LEYTON English
Variant of LAYTON.
LINDON English
Variant of LYNDON.